Wednesday, November 21, 2007

AVUSA: What's in a name?

Actually, there's rather a lot that resides in a name. It's the difference between Tiger Woods and Gert Rautenbach (who?), Ryk Neethling and Luke Wollenschlaeger (who?), Lance Armstrong and Nick van der Leek (hey, I know him!).

But from a branding perspective, one has to be very cautious about changing the name of a company, because years of associations get lost. A case in point: I know a lot of people who still don't refer to the Virgin Active gyms as Virgin Active. They call them Health & Raquet. At Bloemfontein's H&RC - er, I mean Virgin Active club, the H&RC logo is still embedded in the bottom of the pool. What I am saying is you need a very solid rethink, because while it starts with the idea of a new ethos, it is important to follow through with all the rest: an identity change means changing every place where that name appears. Failure to do so dilutes, confuses and mixes up your brand identity.

Avusa means: to arouse or stir up feelings

How will investors buy AVUSA shares? Will you buy Johncom Shares in a company now known as AVUSA? How long will these transitions take? Will email addresses change? What is the AVUSA identity? Will there be a change in direction? How will perceptions change? All this has to be set up, managed and pushed to gain momentum. Brand associations take years to develop. Throwing one away in favor of another may be necessary, but there's an initial overhead to be cognisant of. It doesn't come cheap. Meanwhile, the company formerly known as Johncom has performed well this year:

Results for the six months ended 30 September 2007

Revenue for the six months grew by 16% to R2,974 billion and profit from operations before exceptional items increased by 25% to R409 million.

Our operating media and entertainment assets housed in OpCo performed well growing revenue by 15% and profit by 13%.

We continue to invest in growing our businesses and if we exclude our investments in developing projects our profit in OpCo grew by a very pleasing 29%.

Prakesh Desai, Group CEO: "We need to view these results against the backdrop of lower levels of business confidence, rising interest rates, and softer advertising revenues."

Johncom reports strong growth

Also: Nu Metro Interactive has signed two publishers, Eidos and Sega, for interactive game representation in South Africa, and currently has a 10% share of the gaming market.

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